Saturday, October 1, 2011

TRADITIONS: Kick the month of December off with a SIMPLE and FUN tradition (and end up with a lovely collection). 31 days of Christmas Wonder (day 1)

Welcome to my series, 31 days of Christmas wonder, a month of simple ideas for you and your family. Some ideas will be practical and some a bit more philosophical. But all with the same goal . . . WONDER.

Traditions have always been important to me. Perhaps this is because I had a very nontraditional childhood.

I grew up as an MK (missionary's kid) in Viet Nam AND it was during the war. (not exactly Mayberry) And because of the war, our school was forced to move to another country for safety reasons. So my siblings and I attended a boarding school. (four months at school in Malaysia, two months home, four months back at school, and another two months at home)

As all smart parents do, our parents put as much structure, routine and tradition into our lives to help compensate for the chaos.

Our kids also had an unusual childhood. (every summer,we lived in a tent in Europe travelling with 35 - 90 high school students) And like my parents, I also practiced lots of traditions with them.

Noel Piper, in her book Treasuring God in our Traditions," defines tradition as "a planned habit with structure."

Most traditions do require a bit of planning, but then it becomes easy. You just do it again . . . the next year . . . the year after that . . . and again the next year, and
bingo, a tradition in born.

Christmas lends itself quite easily to wonderful and simple traditions. (or for that matter, complicated traditions if that is what your family loves.) One of our favorite Christmas traditions began the first day of December.

Each year, I purchase one book for our family collection of Christmas books. I wrap it and we open it together on December 1st. We read it and add it to our Christmas book basket.

Of course, the early years it was books like Amelia Bedelia's Christmas or The Austen Family Christmas. But as the girls grew the books changed to Christmas in the White House or Charles Dickens' A Christmas Story.

Just one book each year . . . so fun . . . so easy. I highly recommend to you our first day of December tradition. (and you have two whole months to find the right book for your family)

PS I have my own Christmas book tradition, too. Every December I read Winter Solstice by Rosemund
Pilcher and Shepherd's Abiding by Jan Karon.

Do you have a favorite Christmas book?

image credit


  1. Oh, this is one of my favourites of all our Christmas traditions!

  2. That is one of our traditions also. They are put out as decoration. We try to read through as many as possible each year...yes so fun.

  3. This is wonderful Glenda and I adore Rosemund Pilcher....has she written anything lately?


    Art by Karena

  4. Well, that's easy enough! I have the Gift of the Magi, a children's book that is beautifully illustrated. I actually get this book out EVERY year and re-read it. Such a lovely Christms story.

  5. Reading is one of my favorite things to do so this tradition is right up my ally!

  6. We also had a book basket
    for the kids. I haven't brought
    it out in recent years, but now
    I am loving the idea of adding
    other kinds of Christmas books
    to appeal to us akk. Although
    they would never want me to
    give away the old picture books!
    xx Suzanne
    PS. I own both of those books you
    read each year. Two favorite authors!

  7. What a great tradition. Love reading. You've definitely had an interesting life with moving around, etc. Rosamunde Pilcher---I have every one of her books and love them all. I've tried to read Robins' but just not the same as his mom's.

  8. I see the proof is in the pudding on this!

  9. I love your tradition! My kids are grown now, but as soon as I get some grandkids, I am starting this tradition.
    I also believe in traditions. That's what the kids remember when they're grown.
    I've never read either book you recommended. I think I'll give myself an early Christmas present. Thanks.

  10. _A Christmas Memory_ by Trumas Capote!

  11. Sorry...that was supposed to be Truman...

  12. We have a collection of Christmas books too! (Although I don't necessarily add to it each year. Maybe I'll start...)

  13. When our children were small we bought a new book each year and then wrapped up the old and new. Every evening the girls would pick a book to unwrap. They never knew when they'd pick the new but the old ones were exciting, too. In the busyness of a pastor's life at Christmas it gave us a time to sit down by the Christmas tree each night as a family. It was a joy to see my daughter begin this tradition with her own children.

  14. What a neat tradition. I HAVE to start this. I'm a new grandmother. My grandson will be 1 year & 1 month old on Christmas. I'm going to start this with him.

    I thought my upbringing was different, but yours was definitely the top. I grew up in a Free Methodist Orphanage and "Old People's Home". My parents worked there. Actually an awesome learning experience.

    Janet Macy

  15. My favorite tradition is reading my favorite Christmas story from Luke. When we were growing up, every Christmas Eve, the family would gather and Mom would read Luke, Chapter 2...a tradition I continue in our home, with all who are present.

  16. I'm going to do it! Marcia has given our family a few different Christmas books and I've been so excited this year for the holidays, I almost got them out of the Christmas box. (Last year, it was the Grinch Who Stole Christmas). Instead of getting them out early, I'll search for just the right addition! - I'm getting started late on your posts but I'll catch up.

  17. Hello

    A little late on my commenting. I'm starting to take the time now to go to each blog I follow, and go to the main site then read all the posts that I missed as regular life got in the way. I've read through all of your Christmas posts.

    To save time, I'm only going to comment here, but we do have some christmas traditions now.

    I always make a spinach and cheese quiche for mid-morning breakfast.

    We have the elf on a shelf come to our house on December 1.

    The kids get a new ornament each year.

    I loved the christmas book you showcased.

    Your mound bars look good, too.



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